Long Road of Advocacy Ends with New Retirement Program for Bulloch County Employees

Following years of advocacy and more than a year of work by county employees, a new retirement program is set to be implemented beginning July 1.

The change means employees will convert their retirement plans to a defined benefit plan, as opposed to the current plan with a defined contribution guaranteeing a defined monthly benefit once they reach the age of retirement. 

Back in November of 2022, fifteen years after employees first requested that the idea be considered, Bulloch County Commissioners voted to overhaul employee retirement plans. The last several months have been spent working out the logistics of the changeover and Tuesday’s vote marked the administrative and procedural implementation of the plan that that’s been in the works. Read more about the decision to convert the plan here.

From the May 16 agenda packet:

In late 2021, the Board of Commissioners approved a feasibility study to examine the possibility of changing the retirement plan for County employees. In February 2022, at the request of the employee study group, the Board of Commissioners authorized ACCG Retirement Services to initiate a cost analysis. Following the completion of that analysis, the study group presented several options, with a preference for moving away from the County’s current defined contribution plan and, instead, offering a defined benefit plan.

In August 2022 a due diligence period commenced to allow for further evaluation of the proposal, identification of plan structure options, employee communication, and employee feedback. During the due diligence period, county staff (with the assistance of ACCG Retirement Services) further defined the recommended parameters of the proposed defined benefit plan. Next, specific details of the potential plan – including plan multiplier, retirement age, status of the 401(a) plan, and other variables – were presented to employees.

The study group shared the Due Diligence Report with the Board of Commissioners in October 2022, summarizing the project and associated activities. In a meeting held on November 1, 2022, the Board of Commissioners voted to begin the process to move from the current defined contribution plan to a defined benefit plan and directed staff to begin the necessary steps to do so.

Over the next few months, staff worked closely with ACCG Retirement Services who drafted the documents necessary to enact this change. Several rounds of review and edits were conducted until both organizations were satisfied that the documents properly captured the intent of the switch.

Among the changes to the plan set to take effect July 1:

  • A 1.5% multiplier
  • Vesting after 5 years
  • A retirement age of 65
  • Unreduced early retirement at age 60 with 30 years of service
  • Reduced early retirement at age 60 with 10 years of service
  • This plan discontinues the 401A plan by freezing it
  • A blackout period of 6 to 12 months will be in place, depending on the age of the employee.

Approval of these documents formally replaces the current Defined Contribution Plan with a Defined Benefit Plan effective July 1, 2023.

Both Resolutions were approved unanimously.

Read the contract with ACCG
Plan Amendment Details
Resolution for Approval by Commissioners

Jessica Szilagyi

Jessica Szilagyi is Publisher of TGV News She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement and corrections. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia.

Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and a commentator on the 'Let Me Tell You Why You're Wrong Podcast.'

Sign up for her weekly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gzYAZT

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